The Minnesota Vikings entered Week 16 and their Christmas Eve game against the New York Giants with a pair of players on the verge of setting Vikings franchise milestones. Justin Jefferson was just 10 yards shy of Randy Moss’ single-season franchise receiving record of 1632 yards. He set the record back in 2003.
It didn’t take long for the third-year receiver to break the record as he came out of the first half with five catches for 60 yards. He broke the record with a 25-yard grab in the 1st quarter. Now, through 14.5 games, Jefferson has 1682 receiving yards.
This record has been a year in the making for Jefferson, who entered Week 18 of the 2021 season with 1509 yards, needing a relatively big showing of 123 yards to break it. He finished with 107, just 16 yards short.
Prior to the start of the 2022 season, Jefferson set the goal of breaking the NFL’s single season receiving record and being the first player to get to 2000 yards in a single season. He’s not quite on pace for that 2000-yard mark, but he now sits just 282 yards behind Calvin Johnson for the single-season record of 1964 yards.
Meanwhile, Dalvin Cook entered the day just 22 yards behind Chuck Foreman for the third-most career rushing yards in Vikings history. During his career, Foreman recorded 5887 rushing yards, and Cook entered Week 16 with 5865 rushing yards to his name.
Cook rushed seven times for 40 yards in the first half, including an 18-yard scamper. He now has sole possession of the third largest rushing total in Vikings history. The veteran RB now has his sights set on Robert Smith, who recorded 6818 rushing yards throughout his career. Cook obviously won’t reach that mark this season, but with another strong campaign in 2023, he should be plenty capable of reaching that mark next year.
The most impressive part of Cook reaching this mark is how many games it took. Foreman played 93 games in a Vikings uniform, but it took Cook just 71 games to break his record. Meanwhile, Smith had to play 98 games to reach 6818, but Cook should reach that mark right around his 90th game if he continues to play at a high level next year.
The all-time rushing leader for the Vikings is obviously Adrian Peterson, who rushed for a ridiculous 11,747 yards from 2007-2016. It would take a serious surge from Cook in order to catch Peterson at some point.
Even QB Kirk Cousins got in on the action, recording his 8th consecutive year with 25+ passing TDs by hitting T.J. Hockenson for a score in the first half. He joins just Payton Manning (13), Drew Brees (11), Tom Brady (11), and Phillip Rivers (10) with as many consecutive seasons of that much production.
This Vikings group continues to prove to be one of the better offensive teams that Minnesota has seen in recent memory. We’ll see if they can continue to record milestones as the 2022 season wraps up.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.